Top 10 Aerial Photos to Prove Humans are the Worst Thing to Happen to Earth
10. Tokyo, Japan
If you are claustrophobic, Tokyo, Japan, may not be the city for you. The world’s most
populous city is home to 37.8 million people in an area of 5,200 square miles. In terms
of being built up, it is second only to New York City. What is also impressive is that
much of the city was built up after World War II. Before that, many of the buildings
were wood framed until the Americans firebombed the city on March 9, 1945. It destroyed 16
square miles and killed between 80,000 and 130,000 people. Besides the reconstruction,
at the end of World War II there were 9.3 million people living in Tokyo, meaning that
the city has expanded to accommodate an additional 28.5 million people in 70 years.
9. Rio Huaypetue Mine, Manú Province, Peru
Have you ever wondered why we value gold so much? Well, essentially it comes down to the
fact that it is an element that is rare (but not scarce) and it also has a relatively low
melting point (making it easier to shape and form). Also, it looks pretty. For all these
reasons, gold has been used since 550 B.C. as currency, and it is still a valuable commodity
Because of people’s love for gold, some areas of the world have been mined and torn
apart looking for it. One notable place where this happened, mostly illegally, is the Rio
Huaypetue Mine in Manú Province, Peru. At its peak, two percent of the world’s gold
came from there.
The mining led to widespread deforestation in an area that was once a rainforest, making
the landscapes look like rivers of diarrhea. Even worse than destroying the ascetics of
the area, mercury is now poisoning the soil and water in the area.
8. Manhattan, New York City, New York
Manhattan is one of the most densely populated places on Earth with 71,672 residents per
square mile. However, that is not nearly as bad as it used to be. In 1910, 2.3 million
people lived in the 23 square mile borough, compared to the 1.63 million people who lived
there in 2014.
Manhattan is also known for using up nearly every square inch of land and as a result,
they have the second lowest parks per capita in America. But they do have one of the most
famous parks in the world, Central Park in Upper Manhattan, which is pictured above.
The 1.2 square mile green space amongst the concrete jungle shows how much land people
have taken over since 1624 when the Dutch West India Company sent 30 families to live
and work on what is now Governor’s Island.
7. Rocinha, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
In South America, the slum with the highest density of people is Rocinha, Brazil, which
is located in Rio de Janeiro‘s South Zone. In Rocinha, there are 250,000 people crammed
into just 0.88 square miles, which is smaller than Central Park. Besides just being an incredibly
densely populated slum, it also overlooks some of Rio de Janeiro’s most expensive
and prestigious buildings, creating an interesting juxtaposition of life in a country with a
tremendous wealth gap.
6. Athabasca Oil Sands, Alberta, Canada
As of 2014, Canada is the fifth largest producer of oil in the world. A majority of the country’s
4,800 barrels per day comes from the Athabasca oil sands in Alberta, which are the third
largest oil reserves in the world (only Saudi Arabia and Venezuela have bigger reserves).
The tar sands are a mixture of water, clay and bitumen. Bitumen is a semi-solid crude
oil substance and much of it is buried underground. The biggest problem with the oil sands is
the amount of refinement it goes through. Refinement causes emissions, so the more refinement
that a crude oil needs, the more emissions it creates. The crude oil found in the tar
sands needs the most refinement in the world, making it the most un-environmentally friendly
way to make oil.
5. Coronado Feeders, Dalhart, Texas
This picture was taken from Google Earth, and it is an aerial view of a commercial feedlot
in Dalhart, Texas. While the red water looks a lot like blood, it is actually a lagoon
full of manure. These pools, called anaerobic lagoons, are common practice for manure storage
throughout the United States for pig farms, but the problem is that they are often overflowing
or leaking and that poses a big environmental risk for the surrounding areas. If it leaks,
it could poison the soil, and it puts poisonous gases into the air. Currently studies are
being conducted to find better solutions of what to do with the manure.
4. Colorado Springs, Colorado
While it may be hard to see, all those black objects in the pits are used car and truck
tires. In Colorado Springs and Hudson, both of which are close to Denver, are home to
the biggest stockpile of tires in America. Out of 100 million scrap tires, they house
60 million of them. Of course, these types of landfills are incredibly dangerous because
if there was a fire, it would rival the one in Springfield. Besides the possibility of
a fire, the tires are also a haven for rattlesnakes, rats, and mosquitoes.
The landfills are closing in 2018 and the government is looking to recycle the tires
as a source of income for the state.
3. The Betsiboka Estuary, Madagascar
From space, astronauts say that the Betsiboka Estuary makes it look like Madagascar is bleeding
out into the Indian Ocean. The estuary is at the mouth of the biggest river in Madagascar
and it looks red because of soil erosion. The soil is eroding because of mass deforestation
due to a century of extensive logging that cleared much of the rainforests in the area.
The erosion was made worse by tropical storms that hit the area in recent years.
Erosion is dangerous to the environment because not only does the soil disappear, but it also
adds sediment into the water that blocks waterways and it affects marine life.
2. Mexico City, Mexico
Mexico City is the 10th most populated city in the world with 22.2 million people in the
metropolitan area. It also has a population density of 8,400 people per square kilometer
, and a small segment of the population is depicted in the picture above. The aerial
view is of the suburbs of the city that has historically struggled with infrastructure
problems. Houses were simply built following the contours of the Earth instead of having
an urban plan and this has led to massive urban sprawl in the city.
1. Santosh Park and Uttam Nagar, Delhi, India
With a whopping 22 million people in its metropolitan area, Delhi, India is the second largest city
in the world. It is also the 13th most densely populated city on Earth. Two of its neighborhoods
with the densest population are Santosh Park and Uttam Nagar, which are on the west side
of the city. If you think that this image is somehow fake or manipulated in some way,
check it out on Google Maps for yourself.